Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford


Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_1357-1



Hunting can be defined as the pursuit of wild animals with the intent of killing or trapping them.


Up until the mid-twentieth century, it was widely accepted that the earliest of hominids actively hunted wild animals for sustenance and that these animals made up a significant proportion of their diets. This widespread view was questioned by Richard B. Lee who played a major role in theorizing that this was not necessarily the case for all hominids, particularly those existing in more temperate latitudes. Following 15 months of fieldwork in 1968, Lee demonstrated the reality of a largely plant-based diet in the!Kung Bushmen, a marginalized group which inhabits the semiarid Kalahari deserts of Botswana. Lee suggested that it was reasonable to consider the possibility that the prehistoric “hunter” diet was reflected in that of the!Kung Bushmen’s, which was made up of between 30% and 40% meat.

In the late 1980s, Lee’s hypotheses were...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Oxford Brookes UniversityOxfordUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Peggy Mason
    • 1
  • Yuri Sugano
    • 2
  1. 1.University of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.NeurobiologyUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUnited States of America